June 2016, Volume 20, Number 3

Cultural Spotlight

A Celebration of Cuban Film

MDC’s historic Tower Theater recently showcased the U.S. commercial release of the acclaimed Cuban-Irish film Viva and the Miami premiere of the Cuban film Off Beat (A contratiempo). Viva leading actors Hector Medina and Luis Alberto García treated audience members to a Q & A session after the film.

Directed by Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach with Academy Award-winner Benicio Del Toro as executive producer, Viva is an emotionally charged drama that uncovers an authentic Cuba. The film centers on Jesús, a makeup artist for a troupe of drag performers in Havana. In an unlikely crowd encounter, he meets a stranger who turns out to be his long-absent father, turning the film into an exploration of how two men struggle to understand one another and become a family again. Shot in Havana, Cuba, the film was presented at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and the 2015 Havana Film Festival.

Following Viva, Tower Theater presented Off Beat, depicting the untold stories of underground rock musicians in Havana in the ’60s and ’70s. Directed by Jorge Soliño, the film features that era’s most important Cuban rock bands: Los Pacíficos, Sesiones ocultas, Los Kents and Las almas vertiginosas, among others. The film screening was followed by an exciting after-party featuring musicians at HABANA 305 on Calle Ocho.

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